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Jews You Should Know

Sep 5, 2018


While still living in South Africa, Issie Shapiro was already an activist for people with special needs, raising funds for their housing and care. When he realized a lifelong dream to make aliyah - following his daughter Naomi, who had married an Israeli and settled in the Holy Land - he intended to perpetuate that passion in his new home country.

However, tragedy struck, and Issie passed away while on vacation in the United States, leaving his family - now all in Israel - bereaved, but driven to express his dream.

Ultimately, Naomi, a social worker, established a center - Beit Issie Shapiro - in his name, and its services quickly tagged it as a trailblazer in the field. Its impact spread throughout the country, influencing legislation and helping change the status of people with disabilities in Israel.

Today, the BIS directly impacts 8,000 people each year, and influences over half a million globally through its advocacy and training in partnership with the UN and many individual countries. The beautiful facility in Ranaana houses its core programs, and served as a wonderful backdrop for this inspiring conversation.



Jews You Should Know introduces the broader community to interesting and inspiring Jewish men and women making a difference in our world. Some are already famous, some not yet so. But each is a Jew You Should Know.

The host, Rabbi Ari Koretzky, is Executive Director of MEOR Maryland (, a premier Jewish outreach and educational organization. MEOR operates nationally on twenty campuses and in Manhattan; visit the national website at

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A special thank you to Jacob Rupp of the Lift Your Legacy podcast for his invaluable production assistance.